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The Medicalization of Cannabis (March 24, 2009)

Keywords: Cannabis; Medicalization; QMUL
Language: English
Collection: opensource


The Medicalization of Cannabis

Cannabis has been considered as

both an illicit drug and a medicine throughout its history. Introduced

to the UK as a medicine in the nineteenth century, its medical utility

was limited and it was not until tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the

principal active components in cannabis, was isolated in 1964 by Raphael

Mechoulam and his team in Israel that scientific research on the drug

expanded. Further major developments came in the 1980s, when the

cannabinoid receptors in the brain were discovered.

clinicians, policy makers and patients interested in exploring and

utilizing cannabis as an orthodox medication attended this seminar.

Several were involved with the early elucidation of the structures of

the components of the cannabis plant, or with the two MRC-funded trials

in the 1990s into the therapeutic effect of cannabis on multiple

sclerosis (MS) and postoperative pain. The founding director of GW

Pharmaceuticals discussed the problems of growing cannabis plants and

standardizing extracts to produce a medicine that could gain regulatory

approval. Two MS patients related their experiences of cannabinoid

medications and the significance of patient activism and self-medication

in renewing research interest in the potential medical benefits of

cannabis, against the backdrop of increasing recreational use, was also

The meeting was suggested by Professor Virginia

Berridge, who chaired the meeting jointly with Professor E. M. Tansey.

Contributors include: Professor David Baker, Professor Virginia Berridge

Dr Vincenzo Di Marzo, Professor Griffith Edwards, Professor John

Galloway, Dr Edward Gill, Dr Geoffrey Guy, Dr Clare Hodges, Dr Anita

Holdcroft, Ms Victoria Hutchins, Professor Raphael Mechoulam, Professor

Anthony Moffat, Dr William Notcutt, Professor Roger Pertwee, Dr Philip

Robson, Dr Ethan Russo, Professor Tilli Tansey, Ms Suzanne Taylor. One

appendix gives diagrams of the structures of the major plant

cannabinoids and structurally-related synthetic cannabinoids.

Introduction by Professor Leslie Iversen, 132pp, 1 appendix, 5 figures, biographical notes, references and index.


S M, Reynolds L A, Tansey E M. (eds) (2010) The medicalization of

cannabis, Wellcome Witnesses to Twentieth Century Medicine, vol. 40.

London: The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL.
ISBN 978 085484 129 5

The Medicalization of Cannabis

[PDF 621 KB]

Link: http://www2.history.qmul.ac.uk/research/modbiomed/wellcome_witnesses/volume40/

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